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Study shows failure to diagnose is common among docs

Readers in Houston, Texas, who are planning on visiting the doctor's office in the near future should be a aware of a new study conducted by the Journal of the American medical Association Internal Medicine. According to the study, among primary care doctors, failure to recognize and identify serious conditions is a common occurrence.

Some of the serious conditions the research listed were pneumonia, congestive heart failure, urinary tract infections and even cancer. As a result, these errors can severely harm patients.

The study was particularly interesting because it was one of the first to look at medical errors in primary care. Often, doctors in their office practices performed mistakes that could have avoided serious emergencies that occurred days after the patients left their offices. Many of the errors were due to the failure to take accurate medical histories, as well as failing to properly examine the patients.

Cases like these are not uncommon in Texas. They can cause a considerable amount of harm to patients and their families. In severe cases, when a person dies or is harmed as a result of a failure to diagnose by a negligent physician, financial compensation for medical malpractice is available under the law. Surviving patients, or families of the deceased, can file a lawsuit against a physician or hospital to obtain compensation for damages sustained as a result of a failure to diagnose or other negligence in a patient's care and treatment.

If at all possible, patients should do their very best in making sure the doctor they go to is well-respected and highly skilled. However, in some cases, such as unexpected accidents, it is not always possible to investigate a physician's background. In those cases it is especially important for patients to know that when they are harmed due to a doctor's failure to diagnose, they can be entitled to compensation for the damages they suffered as a result.

Source: The Post-Standard, "Study shows docs often fail to detect pneumonia and other serious conditions during exams," James T. Mulder, Feb. 26, 2013.

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